by Julianna Squicciarini
The time has come. The end is nigh. My 12-month Biltmore Pass will expire at the end of this month. But I have enjoyed it like you wouldn’t believe 🙂 I have used it more than even I thought possible. And these past twelve months have shown me the beauty of the estate in every season.
For those of you who don’t know, my parents gave me the pass for my graduation last April (recommended reading includes Grad Prep, Grad Prep II: Update, Grad Prep III: Update, Grad Prep IV: Breaking News, Grad Prep V: Extra!, and Graduation – Finally!; I know, I got a little carried away…). I had put it on the Graduation Gift List, with the note that one should only purchase it if they wanted to spend some real money. It was kind of pricey. Anyway, I received it and was very excited about using it. Basically, pricewise, you have to go at least twice to make it worth it. <grin> Biltmore lost some money this year, because I went way more than twice!
- May 2008
Due to our exceptionally busy schedule in April, the first trip ended up in May, with Christine. We went exactly one week before her 17th birthday, so that she could get in *for free* with me (one of the many benefits of being a Passholder – children 16 and under get in free with you).
Memories: It was absolutely freezing and we were not dressed for the weather, so we purchased matching Biltmore sweatshirts and walked around in those for most of the day. We also took enough pictures to make a slideshow 🙂
Read all about it: May Biltmore Trip.
- July 2008
I also skipped June, for some inexplicable reason. Might have had something to do with the fact that I was focusing all of my attention on my friend Kelly’s visit and my huge 19th birthday party (19). For my birthday, however, Morgan gave me a trip to Biltmore to stay at the beautiful Inn together.
Memories: It was very hot. But we tried several new things, like having afternoon tea and doing a trail ride. The together-time was priceless. It is unbelievable how much bonding takes place when there are quarts of perspiration pouring out of you 😉
Read all about it: July Biltmore Trip.
- August 2008
In the middle of August, I took Christine, Mary, and Anna Gordon. Anna was 14, so she and Mary got in for free. It was also her first time there. I love showing someone something that is completely new to them. It’s almost like it’s partly mine, and I get to show it off.
Memories: We took TONS of pictures. We did photo shoots *everywhere*. We even snapped a few inside the house, before learning that you’re not supposed to (whoops). Driving from the house to one of the restaurants on the estate, Mary and Anna stood up and stuck their heads through my sunroof for a really great ride 🙂
Read all about it: August Biltmore Trip.
- September 2008
Ever since I got the pass, I had wanted to take my piano teacher, Phyllis Teague, on a little daytrip. Turns out she hadn’t been in 30 years. Well, a lot changes in 30 years 🙂 There were more floors open in the house, and many more gardens and restaurants to see and experience.
Memories: We went on the last day of the gorgeous Carpet of Flowers exhibit. It was amazing, especially if, like Mrs. Teague, you love flowers. We also had afternoon tea (again), and spent an inordinate amount of time chatting over our scones.
Read all about it: September Biltmore Trip.
- November 2008
Yes, I had to skip October. Various reasons. This November trip, though, was planned months in advance. Mary and I decided to go with Rachel & Julia Allison while Morgan and Christine were in Israel. Can’t let them have all the fun, right?! I think Rachel and I put this on the calendar sometime in May or June. I’m a planner…
Memories: Rachel was *constantly* snapping pictures. I mean, how many scenery shots taken from a moving car do we need?? We also walked down one of the garden paths to Bass Pond Waterfall. I stayed at the top of the pond, while Rachel took Mary and Julia down to the bottom. I was able to take pictures of them, and vice versa. Then, when they disappeared into the shrubbery to meet me back up top, they really did disappear. For 10 minutes, I stood there waiting for them to show. Finally, I felt the need to go search for them, while trying to get Rachel on her cell phone. Needless to say, they were fine and had just taken some kind of really long detour :-S
Read all about it: November Biltmore Trip.
- December 2008
My mother had apparently had a big hand in getting me this pass. So I definitely wanted to make sure she got a trip, too. We planned an overnight stay toward the beginning of December. Unfortunately, she was not feeling well enough to come. The day before our trip, she told me this, and we were both very disappointed. After all, we had planned it well in advance due to the hotel reservations. So, being my spontaneous self, and not wanting to lose my deposit on the room, I called Rachel Allison and asked her to come with me instead…again. Oddly enough, not only did she want to come, but she was actually able to 😀
Memories: Rachel and I picked up identical diamond costume rings at exactly the same time without knowing it. We held up our hands at the same moment and our jaws dropped as we realized how alike we actually are. The pictorial proof is in existence, and we’ve had fun joking about that picture.
Unfortunately, you can’t read all about it. I didn’t blog it when I came home. Whoops…
- January 2009
Naturally, I rescheduled my mother’s trip for the next month. And it turned out that she couldn’t make it then, either, as she was taking Mary to the beach for a birthday getaway. So I had these hotel reservations that I could cancel or use. WHY CANCEL!? Girls’ party! We grabbed Emily Hergenreter and whisked her off to Biltmore, by way of the Tanger Outlets (!), and had a blast.
Memories: Emily, Morgan, and I had all purchased these really cute boots. We wore them on the trip and loved matching. Also, we had planned dinner at this unheard-of, rustic mountain restaurant called The Stoney Knob Cafe. When we finally arrived, starved and exhausted, they told us there was no room and we would have to go elsewhere. Disappointed, we started to leave, when the hostess came running after us, practically begging us to stay. *Somehow* there was now a table for four. I think the all-male kitchen staff had something to do with it, personally… 😉
Read all about it: January Biltmore Trip.
- February 2009
I wasn’t sure I would be able to fit in a trip in February, but it worked out. I invited Susan Lindsey to experience the special Chocolate Tea they were offering in honor of Valentine’s Day. I know it sounds gross – it wasn’t 😉
Memories: Mrs. Lindsey and I split a “fried green tomato” sandwich…something I had never even *thought* about trying. Apparently a Southern thing 😉 Wasn’t bad at all – very interesting.
Um…missed the blog opportunity on this trip, as well. Sorry…
- March 2009
Obviously, the final month needed to have the most special guests. I finally got to go with my mom, and we decided to do a daytrip instead of overnight, and to bring my dad along as well. The drive in the MINI Cooper was a highlight. And somehow, it seemed to me that it took less time to get there than normal…perhaps because my father was driving…
Memories: It is an amazing and incredible day when I, with four siblings, actually feel like an only child. This was one of those days. Besides, I got to impress my parents with my knowledge of the ins-and-outs of Biltmore, since I’ve been so often 😀 Gotta love it.
So all in all, I visited the Estate nine times, and stayed overnight three times. Plus all those extra shopping and dining discounts – this was totally worth it. And now it’s time to say goodbye to Biltmore, at least for the next few months. What a year this has been!